The Negawatt Challenge began as an open innovation competition to transform Rio into a more efficient and sustainable place. It started on April 15th with the Challenge Definition Day that convened various groups of stakeholders to brainstorm on the most critical water management issues the city is struggling with. Then came the Negawatt Weekend, which gathered eight teams ideating on the challenge statements and pitching their solutions to a judge panel over the course of 54 hours.
The Negawatt Weekend winning teams included:
- NegaPower: a solution to lower the high cost of electric power in the fast-growing gym sector.
- E-Manager: a smart plug coupled with a software to manage energy costs of small and medium enterprises.
- Breath: a solution of photovoltaic panels for commercial buildings.
An honorable mention was also given to K20 whose solution helps manage energy and water consumption of hotels and hostels while rewarding and attracting more guests.
All of the teams have then been trained in a special boot camp in June run by the Brazilian Service of Support for Micro and Small Enterprises (Sebrae). Along the way, the teams have also received support from NI, a global Terrawatt sponsor of the Negawatt Challenge. As a result, the teams have improved their offerings by learning new business, technical, and marketing tools, and on July 13 participated in the Demo Day where they pitched their refined products to the same panel of judges.
NegaPower and E-Manager have shown the strongest performance from the standpoints of value creation, relevance to the Negawatt challenges, technical feasibility, financial viability, and originality. Their main prize has been an entry into a several month-long business acceleration program with the NAVE Area Estacio de Sa University that should help teams develop their minimum viable products and business decks for investors.
At the end of the acceleration program only one of the teams will be selected through the next round of pitching to represent Rio energy startup scene at the global Negawatt Challenge competition. The pitch will take place in November at the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Rio Negawatt winner will be competing against peers from Accra, Ghana; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Nairobi, Kenya; and a winner of the virtual Negawatt competition run through the MIT Climat CoLab.